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Arlington prepares package of economic stimulus projects

A proposed wetland at the northeast corner of the intersection of SR 9 and 530 is part of the city’s wastewater treatment plant upgrade and expansion.  -
A proposed wetland at the northeast corner of the intersection of SR 9 and 530 is part of the city’s wastewater treatment plant upgrade and expansion.
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ARLINGTON — In the weeks before president-elect Barack Obama takes office, the city of Arlington has prepared an impressive packet of projects that could be funded with Obama’s proposed $800 billion economic stimulus package.

With bids now being reviewed for a $35 million upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, the facility has a key place in the package as one of two “shovel-ready” projects, along with the airport business park. Arlington’s package includes 13 projects that fit into three categories: infrastructure, transportation and facilities.

While City Council approved Dec. 15 a million dollar contract with Kennedy and Jenks to manage the construction of the wastewater treatment plant’s upgrade and expansion, the city is also applying for one more grant to cover the balance of $14 million out of the $35 million project. The project already has a $18 million in low-cost loans from the state’s Public Works Trust Fund and $2 million in the sewer budget. The stimulus package proposal asks for $14.6 million in funding, the same amount that is being proposed to the state for another low-interest loan.

“If we get money from the stimulus package, then we won’t need the SRF loan,” said Public Works Director James Kelly.

Kelly worked with the assistant administrator for facilities, Paul Ellis, to assemble the package. Ellis thinks that the airport business park also has lots of potential for the stimulus package funds.

“The business park not only provides jobs in its construction, but will provide jobs into the future as well,” Ellis said.

U.S. Representative Rick Larsen confirmed that the key word is “shovel-ready,” though he admits the process for selecting projects is still vague.

“The bill has not been written yet,” he told journalists in a conference call Jan. 7.

“What I’ve heard is the money will be directed toward transportation and infrastructure projects that create immediate jobs and long-term economic growth.” He personally is pitching for funding for ferries, and help for families who have been hit the hardest, including help for food banks, help for seniors, and help for hungry kids at schools, he said. He is also pushing for “green jobs” through the development of more green industries by funding labs in public universities.

“We need labs to develop systems for alternative energy sources,” Larsen said.

Along with the WWTP and the airport project, Arlington’s package includes 11 projects in infrastructure, transportation and facilities.

Infrastructure

n A major waterline for old town, valued at $1,960,000.

n A roof replacement for the Gleneagle Reservoir, valued at $560,000.

n Stormwater system repair and rehabilitation valued at $2,900,000.

Transportation

n 67th Street project phase three, from 204th Street to Olympic Avenue, valued at $15,625,000.

n Sidewalk for Gifford Street from First to Third, value $92,250.

n Sidewalk/trail for 188th Street, value $220,000.

Facilities

n Westside Arlington Airport Business Park, value $5,800,000.

n New building for Arlington Food Bank $850,000.

n Arlington Library $9,950,000.

n Fire Station 46 upgrade $2,000,000.

n Trailhead restrooms for Legion Park $310,000.

n Fire Station 48 value $4,550,000.

While the bill has yet to be written, Arlington officials expect the Association of Washington Cities to be instrumental in distributing the funds, said Kristin Banfield, assistant administrator for public affairs.

“We’ve had contact with the state Department of Ecology and the Regional Council on our waste water treatment plant and other projects,” Banfield said. She intends to remind Larsen, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell about Arlington’s projects.

“They are especially looking for projects that can be started within 180 days,” Banfield said.

She added that she is also encouraging the state to fund the construction of SR 531, i.e. 172nd Street from I-5 to SR 9.

“The state is already planning to finish the four-leaf clover on the 172nd Street overpass this year,” Banfield said.

“Even if the stimulus package supports a project that is already funded, that frees up money for other projects,” Banfield said.

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